Stockwell, about 80 km north of Adelaide, was founded by English migrant Samuel Stockwell in 1853. Samuel had bought the land from George Fife Angas, part of which he sub-divided into townblocks and offered for sale on 4 April 1854. On another part of his land he built a steam flour mill, using the water from the nearby Stockwell Creek. The mill, after several different owners, upgrades and new machinery, was still producing flour a hundred years later. Samuel's stay was not as long. Having settled his family of four children in a neat two-roomed cottage, he died at Pine Hut, near Truro, on 14 December 1870 aged 45.
The first marriage at Stockwell took place on 16 July 1860 when William Turner, storekeeper of Nuriootpa, married Elizabeth Tobitt. Among some of the earliest families to settled in the newly created town were Johann Carl Julius Fiedler and his wife Maria and Carl Wilhelm Klinger with his wife Anna. Johann Friedrich Wilhelm Meier bought a block from Stockwell in 1854 and built a cottage, made of pine posts and pug straw, in which he and his wife lived until they died. Franklin Jackson and his wife were also early arrivals. Their daughter was born at Stockwell on 7 August 1864. David Moses only had a short stay in town. Having arrived from England where he had been senior partner of the firm Moses, Son, & Davis, he died in 1860, aged 72.
Another well known resident was Dr Bernhard Traugott Zwar. Born in Stockwell in 1876 he completed his education at Prince Alfred College and Adelaide University before going to England and Germany. He was directly involved with the building of the Royal Melbourne Hospital. He died in 1947.
As with the other towns established in the nearby Barossa Valley, a Lutheran church and school were opened almost immediately, on land donated by Angas. Its first Pastor, Staudenmeyer from Light Pass, conducted services twice a week on Sundays and Wednesdays. The first teacher, Franz Neuvert, used the same building and started work in 1856. A public school was opened in 1881 when twenty-four students were instructed by Carl Krichauff. Another church was build in 1904 and finally the first stone for the present church was laid by Pastor W Roehrs on 24 February 1929.
Being on a busy stock route, pioneered in the late 1830s when cattle was overlanded from New South Wales, the town soon had a number of stores, a blacksmith, bootmakers, a post office and hotel. A.Bamberger, storekeeper and first postmaster served in both from 1857 until 1879. Daily mail deliveries were made by Cobb and Co and later by Rounsevell. In 1877 the town was connected by telegraph to Adelaide but it was not until 1911 that a telephone exchange was installed.
The hotel, completed in 1867, had twelve rooms and provided stabling for twenty horses. Its large reception room was used for Lodge meetings, formed on 21 August 1863, dances and most other community activities. With a large number of German migrants living in town, both meetings and entertainment at the hotel often had a distinct German flavour. There was the Bismark Skat Club to play cards, the brass band and hunt club to name just a few.